2023 GOBankingRates Survey: Financial Literacy in the US
One of the best things you can do for your finances is to educate yourself about the topics that affect your wealth, such as how to invest, the most effective ways to pay off debt and the importance of saving for retirement as early as possible. A lack of understanding of these topics can be costly — a recent study found that on average, financial illiteracy costs Americans $1,819 per year.
To get further insights into how much Americans really know about their finances — and where their knowledge and behaviors may be lacking — GOBankingRates surveyed over 1,000 adults about a range of financial literacy topics, including when they started planning for retirement, how much they have in emergency savings and which financial tasks they find most confusing. Here’s a look at our findings.
- 38% of Americans became comfortable with basic money skills between the ages of 18 and 22. 7% said they are still uncomfortable about their basic money skills.
- More than half of Americans (57%) said that a lack of financial understanding has impacted their ability to be financially prepared for the future.
- 34% of Americans said their parents never discussed money topics with them.
- 46% of Americans think you need more than $1,000 in cash on hand to be prepared for a national emergency.
More Survey Results
|At what age did you become comfortable with basic money skills||Response Rate|
|41 or older||2.94%|
|I still do not feel comfortable with basic money skills||6.82%|
|At what age did you start saving and planning for retirement?||Response Rate|
|56 or older||2.56%|
|I have not yet started saving or planning for retirement||28.22%|
|How much cash do you think you should have on hand in case of a national emergency?||Response Rate|
|Less than $50||7.29%|
|More than $1,000||45.55%|
|Do you think a lack of financial understanding has impacted your ability to be financially prepared for the future?||Response Rate|
|I am financially prepared for the future||12.31%|
|Which major financial task is most confusing to you?||Response Rate|
|Buying a car||6.72%|
|Buying a home||17.9%|
|Doing your taxes||26.99%|
|I feel comfortable with all of the above||24.34%|
|Planning for retirement||24.05%|
|When you were growing up, which financial topics did your parents talk to you about?||Response Rate|
|My parents didn’t talk about financial topics with me||33.52%|
|How has inflation changed how you handle your finances?||Response Rate|
|I stopped/paused/cut back on saving for retirement||18.18%|
|I haven’t been contributing to my emergency fund as much||32.39%|
|I am trying to shop smarter to save more money||62.97%|
|I am spending far less on wants like dining out and entertainment||46.5%|
|Inflation has not changed anything about how I handle my finances||11.27%|
GOBankingRates surveyed 1,056 Americans ages 18 and older from across the country between March 17 and March 20, 2023, asking 12 different questions: (1) When you were growing up, which financial topics did your parents talk to you about? (Select all that apply); (2) At what age did you become comfortable with basic money skills (i.e., writing a check, balancing your accounts, budgeting)?; (3) At what age did you start saving and planning for retirement?; (4) How much cash do you think you should have on hand in case of a national emergency?; (5) Do you think a lack of financial understanding has impacted your ability to be financially prepared for the future?; (6) How much did a lack of financial literacy cost you in the last year due to things like not knowing the best way to save for retirement, not being comfortable with investing, not using a budget, etc.?; (7) Which major financial task is most confusing to you?; (8) What percentage do you think you are required to put down on a home when buying?; (9) Do you feel prepared to handle any possible cuts to Social Security benefits?; (10) How has inflation changed how you handle your finances? (Select all that apply); (11) What’s the minimum you think experts would recommend you have saved to be comfortable in retirement?; and (12) Which of the following do you find most confusing about Social Security? GOBankingRates used PureSpectrum’s survey platform to conduct the poll.
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